Ragdale Residency 2017: Day 10

Time: Monday. Pre-4th! So that means something. I think of Phyllis Wheatley over all the others, and how this very young nameless girl on a slave ship arriving from Africa to the US, awakens homeless, scared surely, and in her simple clothes—those rags of regal courage—to take a new name and take on the oppressors' world with a voice of ink that simply refused to sleep or go silent. A voice louder than bombs. Tonight the lightshows begin everywhere around Ragdale, and loud music will move across the night air in waves and muffles to celebrate America's freedom. In spite of their freedoms, America's oppressed freedom fighters from the late 1700's also learned how to oppress others in turn. This is the human cycle, the chains of containment. Tomorrow will be even bigger and brighter, louder. This is independence. Let the fireworks come, and I am ready in Trumpland.
A hard copy of The Death of Virgil in my hands.

A hard copy of The Death of Virgil in my hands.

Space: From the porch of Friends Studio light and dew shimmer in the early morning green. Rain has done its work, but the mosquitos are disturbed, buzzing with unwelcome candor. They aren't really bothering me on the porch, except when I try to focus on reading. There are emails to return, but I'm not ready for that just yet. The sunlight and I are getting to know each other a bit better right now, and I wouldn't want to interrupt that. Heart: Engagement, again, and thankfully so. There's always something about a day like today that means I will do some good writing which will affect the rest of the week. Monday is a kindling day, a startup day, a day reasonable enough to want meaningful action and focus. The sequel to Fishhead is brewing somewhere in my head and down to my wires locked against bone, against nerves calmed by sleep. I have begun, the words come, and I am pleased though never sure they will stick in the end. Trust begs me to follow. I allow the day to unfold in determined silence and practice. A few residents leave for a few days, visiting friends or family in the area, or choosing to spend a couple of days exploring downtown Chicago. Yes, there is so much else to see. I am done with writing by 4 pm and must get showered and ready for the evening with the others.
A pre-4th Moroccan dinner.

A pre-4th Moroccan dinner.

I think of Chef Linda's meal and must go down to the kitchen in the barnhouse and say hello to her when it's time for our cocktails to begin at 6 pm on the porch of the barnhouse, just outside the conference room. I get a kiss on the cheek and warm hug from dear Linda. And at dinner, we are served a Moroccan theme that's gluten free, with baked, shredded zucchini as the base, over which there's tagine or maraq, a tomato stew made with chickpeas which I love, (and one with chicken), and a hearty salad with baby spinach, walnuts, and sliced cucumbers. An olive medley. Tabouleh made with quinoa instead of bulgur wheat, yea. Oh, goat cheese! And dark chocolate, and sweet baking/eating peaches later that Linda obtained from a family-run co-op near where she lives near Wisconsin. Conversation at the table starts up gradually to a full boil, ha! but only after a few complaints are put out there about the lacking accommodations in some barnhouse rooms (but rarely in the fully refurbished Ragdale House, with its dripping kitchen faucet), and assurances by the new resident liaison to improve things. And a resident covers both ears in response to the high-engagement and laughter among us all that comes again. This is how it must be, because can you imagine the death from silence at dinner or from an adverse mood? Where's the fun in that? Writers and artists are often a brooding mass while deep in their work. A bit of levity hurts no one. Furthermore, I am noticing a resident or two pulling away into their self-involved worlds, building surprising intimacies. Oh well! Must stay focused on my work, while hints of chaos ring their aftermath like a disguised fallout. ~Ignatius  

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